Struggles of Returning to Work

Returning to Work is Hard!

There are many reasons why returning to work can be hard. If you are a younger worker, without much office experience, you’ve gotten into the swing of things with remote work. If you experience microaggressions, in person office life means a higher amount daily than in remote work. These, and more, can cause stress and anxiety on top of those caused by change in routine.

Returning to Work is an Unknown

Unknowns are always stressful. The transition to and from remote work is an unknown for everyone. There are no plans, this isn’t something people have had to account for before. That inherently creates stress that all employees however high or low on the chain of command will feel. At the top, they have to choose the right time. With the delta variant, is it worth it to try to bring people back? And can all of those people be brought into one campus? A lot of companies hired worldwide during the pandemic. After this long at remote work, do people really want to return to desks? A Gartner poll shows that instead of the 30% before the pandemic, 48% want to work remotely at least some of the time. Companies have to balance those interests with the unavoidable reality of Hybrid learning.

Adobe's Instructions for Hybrid Work

The biggest challenge with the Hybrid work model is that we’ve tried it before. And failed. Horribly. Remote participants were ignored with cameras being faced to useless places or being forgotten entirely. Adobe decided to start from scratch to rethink hybrid work starting from remote work instead of in person.

Rethink communication

The most effective way to ensure that everyone has access to real time communications is to keep online communication. Discussions between colleagues, groups, and from management should happen online to include the remote colleagues. Discussions in queues, while getting coffee, inherently leave remote colleagues out.

Meetings and planning

Along the same lines as communications, planning should be done online and meetings should be planned as if they were all online. In meetings, it should run like an all virtual meeting with one person per camera and mic so that the remote colleagues are heard. If a whiteboard is helpful for a meeting, a digital whiteboard should be used so that remote employees can collaborate too.


Remote work defined flexible hours at tech companies. Outside of meetings, it was pretty much up the employee to choose when they would be most efficient and get their work done. In order to aid that asynchronous activities are encouraged. To facilitate collaboration, core hours, central hours where everyone is working together can be put in place. If they are placed in the middle of the standard workday, it allows early and late starters to utilize their productive time, but also join in collaboration with each other.